Bedding Buying Guide
DOWNLITE manufacturers down and down alternative bedding used in private label and branded programs for the best department stores and catalogs in the country. In addition, our down bedding is used in thousands of hotels and resorts in the United States. The information below addresses many common questions we get. If you still need help, email us at email@example.com or give us a call Sunday-Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM EST.
Down vs Down Alternatives
First things first: down is NOT feathers. Down is actually a fluffy undercoating beneath feathers. As an insulator, down has the ability to effectively trap heat, while also being breathable. This allows it to wick moisture away from your body. Down is measured by fill power, the loftiness of the down. The higher the fill power, the lighter and warmer it is. The top (and most expensive) down will have a fill power of about 900. Down bedding is the gold standard for comfort. But not everyone wants down filled bedding. Reasons range from allergies to the expense.
Down Alternatives (at least from DOWNLITE) are "loose blown" polyester fibers. Meaning the fibers can move around inside the bedding. This movability mimics the properties of down. Additionally, all down alternatives we make are machine washable and dryable. Most down alternatives are comparable to 550-600 fill power white goose down.
The Down Alternatives We Make
Polyesters can be vary from the size of the fiber, to whether it is single or multi hollow core; even topical treatments on the fibers can vary greatly. Below is a go-to list of the down alternatives we make.
- PrimaLoft® – A silky smooth microfiber blend featuring a permanent antimicrobial treatment in the fiber that won't wash out. PrimaLoft is comparable to the fill power of a 550-600 fill power white goose down. It is hydrophobic, meaning it does not absorb water, thus it is easier and quicker to dry. Used in all products from pillows, comforters, blankets and even fiber beds. Of note: PrimaLoft in the apparel world comes in several sub blends and they do not directly correspond to home bedding.
- EnviroLoft – This fiber features a thicker strand of polyester. The thicker fibers offer added support and rigidity. Popular for hospitality applications due to its durability and price point. Used in all products from pillows, comforters, blankets, and fiber beds.
- MicroLoft – This fiber uses a dense microfiber which is very slick feeling and offers a noticeable unique hand. Used only in bed pillows.
- OptiLuxe – This fiber blend mimics the features of memory fiber bedding. Unlike memory foam, this polyester can be machine washed. Used in select Sealy Posturepedic® bed pillows.
- LiquiLoft – Similar to MicroLoft, this fiber is dense which offers a contouring feeling. Used only in bed pillows.
- Cluster Fiber – A fiber that is made into balls and offers excellent durability and volume. Used in many hotel bed pillows.
- Suprelle – A special fiber that mimics the properties of Memory Foam bedding. It has a special polyester blend that requires home care using Dryell. Used only in bed pillows and some mattress pads.
Buying The Perfect Pillow
As a company we make hundreds of pillow styles and if you have ever been to a bed and bath store you have seen 40-50 styles for sale.Suffice it to say, it can be confusing to know what is best for your needs. So let's start with your sleeping style. When you wake up in the morning are you on your back, side or stomach?
- Side sleepers are best suited for a medium-firm density pillow. The firmer density keeps your head and neck from going too low near your shoulder blade.
- If you wake up on your back, a medium density pillow is preferred so that you get just enough support but not too much that your head/neck are pushed uncomfortably forward.
- Stomach sleepers will want a pillow that is soft so your breathing area is not obstructed. Fun Fact: this style pillow generally runs lower in price because less filling is required.
The above are just recommendations, it really comes down to your personal preference. Remember that your head is going to be comforted by this pillow 6-8 hours a day, 365 days a year, for the next 2-12 years. Of all the things on your bed: the mattress, mattress pad, comforter, sheets... your pillow is the most important. With the price differences between a good pillow and a great pillow, we'd suggest a higher quality pillow that is smaller (standard/jumbo) versus buying a king size of a cheaper model.
Comforter or Duvet
Most American consumers call an article of bedding that you sleep under a comforter. When abroad, or even in the hospitality industry, a comforter is called a duvet insert. When searching on our website, you will see it referenced as a comforter. Most American consumers hear duvet and think duvet cover, the decorative protector used in combination with a comforter. When it comes time to launder the bedding, the duvet cover can be removed for easy cleaning, and the comforter washed less. The answer of duvet vs comforter is: on our website, they're the same thing.
Feathers or Down
Down is the light fluffy coating beneath the feathers of ducks and geese. Each down cluster is made from thousands of tiny fibers, like little cotton balls between the bird's skin and feathers. Mother Nature created down to keep water fowl dry and warm when they swim around in the water. One down comforter provides the warmth and temperature control of 14 wool blankets, but because of down's natural ability to pull moisture away from the skin you never wake up hot and clammy in the middle of the night.
High quality down comes only from ducks and geese. Chickens and other birds do not produce down because they do not spend a significant portion of their lives in the water. 85% of the world's production of down and feathers comes from Asia; the remaining 15% is generally produced in Eastern Europe. Farmers who raise ducks and geese for their meat sell the unprocessed feathers and down to processing companies around the world, so no usable part of the bird is wasted.
Down clusters are naturally very durable, it is not uncommon for people to use a down bedding product for a dozen years or more before replacing it. Down is also naturally flame retardant, making it an excellent choice for safe sleeping.
Down and feathers come in various shades ranging from pure white to black speckled gray. There is a premium on pure white down and feathers because of their ability to visually blend better when filled into white bedding products, but the color does not affect the down's loft or warmth. As consumer taste for lighter bird meat increases, white down and feathers are becoming more abundant.
Blanket or Comforter
Comforters feature stitched boxes ranging in size from 10–16 inches. Because of the large the box size, more filling is needed to keep the square fluffy. The fluffier a comforter is, the warmer it is. Comforters are best suited for fall/winter due to their high heat retention.
Blankets feature smaller stitched boxes ranging in size from 4–6 inches. The smaller squares need less filling, making them lighter in warmth, and perfect for summer months. Blankets typically are larger than comforters as they are meant to be tucked under the mattress for a hotel look. They can be paired with a comforter in winter for extra warmth.
Feather Bed or Mattress Pad
Feather beds add fluffy comfort while mattress pads protect your mattress.
A feather bed is used on top of your mattress and is filled with a blend of down and feathers. Some feather beds feature a top layer of down or polyester for a touch of softness. Feather beds generally are 3 to 5 inches in height and feature baffle box chambers to keep the fill separated and easier to fluff and maintain.
A mattress pad is used over your mattress and features a stretchable skirt or sometimes anchor bands to keep it in place. Typically mattress pads are no thicker than one inch. Mattress pads also can feature special treatments like water resistance.
A feather bed and a mattress pad can be used together. The average consumer mattress is appoximately 12 inches in height. If you have a feather bed on top of your mattress, your mattress pad can be applied on top of the feather bed. Most of our mattress pads can stretch to cover 18 inches in height. If you have a down topped feather bed you might not want to interfere with the softness of the down material. If you have a dog, baby, or spill items in your bed frequently you might want to keep a water resistant mattress pad on top of your feather bed. Feather beds are not machine washable due to their size and should be spot cleaned. We recommend adding a feather bed protector when buying a feather bed to extend its life.